Can faith school bring back educational excellence?

I have, over the past few weeks, by reading the Express, attempted to make sense of the controversy raging over the proposals to establish an independent faith school in the town.

The attitudes of the leading antagonists appears to be roughly: Coun. Roger Frost’s opposition, despite his party’s official policy of approval, appears to be on the grounds there are enough schools in town after the sudden injection of funds arising, it is alleged, from the disturbances of a racial nature (albeit at considerable and continuing cost).

Mr Pike seems also to be concerned about a possible surfeit of buildings. No mention of the possible effects on the education of pupils. Opposition on these grounds inclines me to think there must be some merit in the proposals.

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Mr Keane’s letter reads like a Labour Party manifesto, praising the social engineering of Hameldon College, which was a “poison chalice” handed to Miss Broom, constantly refilled, as on the very next page of the Express, Ofsted is again piling on the agony for the lady.

John Cave’s letter very succinctly sums up the shambles of the social engineering in the schools.

Coun. Bea Foster naively questions the need for another faith school when there is the successor to the excellent Roman Catholic St Theodore’s. She may be disappointed to find some of her co-religious Methodists and other Protestants could be reluctant to send their children to the school, and if they all did apply on grounds of it being a faith school, it would probably be over-subscribed.

Coun. Julie Cooper’s “severe cuts” (ad nauseam) implies the new school will adversely affect the funding of the present establishments. Mr Keane also attempts to make this point. Dr Rook, of the new school, claims there will be additional funding. What is the truth?

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I must express concern at the statistic that 9% (approx. 500) children of school age attend schools out of town. What a condemnation of political interference over the years. Burnley used to have an education system i.e. grammar/high/technical and commercial, which even the Labour Council of the time was proud of. So, if an independent school can restore some of that excellence I’m all for it!

K. Halstead


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